Api | Kaitāia, Northland

“When I think of kindness and whether it’s been from myself towards others, or from others towards myself, whether it be as simple an action as a smile, or someone who just genuinely says hello, and how are you, not just to say it but to genuinely know how you are.

That to me, is really what kindness is about. And then there’s the other type of kindness where people actually give you things and to me, when you give people things, it’s the intention behind that giving. Throughout my life, when it comes to kindness, I try to learn. 

So just recently during Covid-19, there was a lot of stress that’s been happening amongst everybody, one whānau in particular that I’ve only just gotten to know recently, I’ve watched them struggle. I’ve watched them be oppressed, and I’ve watched them experience harassment and threatening behaviour, and this is during Covid-19 Lockdown. One night, my whānau and I were in our home, keeping to ourselves, and this whānau that’s been experiencing so much heartache in my opinion, they show up with a banoffee pie. We weren’t expecting it, but to me, it meant a lot, because even during the struggle they’re willing to go and help others. That’s probably going to stick with me for the rest of my life. Ever since then, our whānau and their whānau have been really close, and it’s just a natural affinity to want to help each other.

I’d like to think that with our current situation with Covid-19, that we are going to be a lot more kind to each other, a lot more patient with each other. Just be a bit more aware of what we’re going through, because this particular situation, this pandemic, is affecting every one of us, and I think that’s what makes it a little bit different, because we’re all in this. We really are all in this together. I’d like to think that we continue to do that. I have witnessed some unfortunate behaviour, even during that time. However, I’ve also witnessed some really loving behaviour during that time. 

Something I really love about kindness is when you experience this, or whether you give this, you can’t help but want to be better and shine that light towards others, and hopefully that light can be embraced throughout, it’s like a ripple effect. One act of kindness can connect all the way to the other side of the world, and you don’t even know it, but I believe it. I really do.

I grew up right here in the hearty Far North, Kāitaia. I was raised in a very humble home. My mum and dad, they had 12 of us. There’s six boys and six girls in my whānau. I am the eighth child of the 12 children. So, you may imagine that we were very creative in our home to have the means to eat kai, to have a roof over our heads, all the basic necessities. I’m no stranger to being humble or growing up in a humble home. We learned a lot. My dad used to get us to grow kai right outside our doorstep. I remember my friends at school used to make fun of us because they thought that our garden looked like a forest. It was that big, it looked like a forest. So, every day I went to school, and every day someone would say something about it, to try and be funny. Little did I know that I’m going to need those basic principles of growing a garden, right now. So I’m really grateful for the surroundings that I was brought up in. Man, there were a lot of things that we did growing up. I really don’t know where to start or where to begin. All of what I do know is that it was always a loving home.

When I was growing up home was anywhere my parents were because of the love they have for me, but now it’s anywhere my husband and our tamariki are. That’s where my home is.” 

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